There are many books out there on the subject of customer service, but today I´m reviewing one that takes a different approach from most. When Customers Talk by T. Scott Gross focuses on customer feedback, its importance, and how to use it to engineer a better customer experience.
Scott co-wrote the book with the people at BIGresearch a firm that uses online panels to provide data to businesses, primarily retailers. However, I´m not a retailer and I picked up more than enough good ideas to help me in my regular day job, which is as much business-to-business as it is business-to-consumer. Scott begins by pointing out that you can use data from customer feedback to predict their future behavior. Knowing how to do this helps you make the right decisions so that you can exceed your customers´ needs.
To collect the right feedback, he outlines a five-step process:
1. Listen to the right voice. Those voices belong to your most profitable customers (although he points out that all customers deserve your respect)
2. Be a trusted listener. Show the customer that you care about that feedback
3. Ask the right questions. Ask questions on topics important to the customer, not on topics important to you
4. Make the correct interpretation. Study the data; don´t jump to conclusions as do many inexperienced salespeople
5. Take Action. "Feedback delayed loses its value."
He then discusses creating a plan that envelops your customer in an experience that exceeds expectations. Build in a small surprise that generates a "Wow!" from the customer. This can result in creating an "afterglow" that enlarges the experience in the customer´s mind; it can lead to reciprocity where the customer does something for you; and it can result "in positive, compelling word of mouth."
This book is easy to read as Scott does an effective job of explaining how to use "dry" data by giving us real world relevant examples. If you need to sell people in your business on giving greater emphasis to customer feedback, this book´s for you. Or, if you just want to pick up some good ideas, order your copy today.
BTW, in light of recent news about bloggers reprinting information from corporate PR departments, let me state that, while I received a complimentary copy from Stuart, Scott´s "younger, better looking brother," the opinion´s here are entirely my own. I will make no money off sales of this book nor do I have any business relationships with Scott or BIGresearch.
"It´s the knowledge derived from information that gives you the competitive edge."